TRENTON – The New Year’s holiday is traditionally a time for parties and nights out on the town, but state officials are urging motorists and pedestrians who will be traveling to use caution if they will be drinking while enjoying the festivities.
“New Year’s Eve is always a time for family, friends and looking forward,” said Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino. “But the good times can turn tragic in an instant, so drivers should take smart steps and make alternative plans for travel if they plan on drinking alcohol.”
“Motorists should never drink and drive, but that message takes on extra urgency during the holidays,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Those who break the law by driving while impaired risk terrible consequences. Not only are they endangering themselves and their passengers, they also put other drivers and pedestrians in harm’s way.”
State and local police will be conducting patrols to spot impaired drivers. The Division’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign runs from December 8, 2017, to January 1, 2018. More than $850,000 in grants has been distributed to 166 law enforcement agencies throughout the state to crack down on drunken driving. During the 2016 campaign, 1,605 DWI arrests were made.
There were 10,497 deaths from alcohol-related crashes during 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of close to 29 deaths per day. Nearly 10 percent of those killed in alcohol-related crashes were 14 years old and under.
During the 2016-2017 New Year’s holiday weekend, there were four motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey, three of which involved impairment, according to New Jersey State Police statistics.
Those out for an evening of fun should practice moderation when they consume alcohol, said David Rible, Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“The message for revelers this New Year’s holiday is to practice moderation and designate or hire a sober driver,” said David Rible, Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “We urge all those celebrating to make the holiday memorable for all the right reasons – family, friends and fun – rather than for a preventable tragedy.”
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety offers the following road safety tips to keep pedestrians safe on New Year’s Eve:
- Cross at intersections only
- Never cross between parked cars
- Before crossing, look left, right and left again, and listen for traffic
- If there is no sidewalk available, walk as far off the roadway as possible on the side of the road, facing oncoming traffic
- Obey all traffic signs and signals
Tips for Motorists:
- Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Failure to do so carries a $200 fine, plus court fees and a two-point penalty
- Watch for pedestrians when turning on red.
- Obey posted speed limits
- Do not block or park in crosswalks.
- Keep your windshield clean (inside and out) for maximum visibility.
- Be alert for pedestrians at all times.
The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control also offers tips for New Year’s Eve revelers:
- Use mass transit, a cab or car service to get to and from their destination.
- Immediately report drunk drivers and drunk pedestrians you may see on the road to law enforcement.
- Never let a friend drive drunk. If you know someone is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and arrange for a ride home.
- Buckle-up, every ride.
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